By Kara Murphy, contributing writer
New technology adopted by the burger chain is fueling growth and creating a more personalized experience for its customers
During a January earnings call, top executives at Sonic spoke about the company’s efforts of incorporating new technology. In particular, the company is upgrading its point of sale (POS) system in order to create a more personalized experience for its customers. Sonic executives say the efforts are already translating into higher sales. Chairman, Chief Executive, and President J. Clifford Hudson reported a 2.2 percent increase in same-store sales in its Nov. 30-ending first quarter and a 33.8 percent increase in profits in the same time period.
Some of the new technology initiatives include:
Adding efficiencies to its supply chain management system — A new supply chain management system allows the company to better forecast its inventory needs. Hudson said the system also will allow the company to manage its promotions and inventories in a more efficient manner. It also is expected to improve communication from the store level up to distributors, vendors and suppliers about inventory levels and needs.
Upgrading its POS system — Seventy company-owned stores already have the new POS system. The remainder of the company-owned stores will be upgraded by the summer of 2014 and the franchised locations will be upgraded by the end of 2016. The new system will help streamline ordering and minimize waste, Hudson says.
Implementing a POPS system — The point of personalized service (POPS) system will be integrated with the new POS system. A Frank Mayer and Associates study indicates POPS systems increase customer loyalty. Sonic’s POPS system adds targeted messaging and customized promotions using mobile technology and social media. It already has been working well at the company’s 70 test locations, Hudson said. The system will be implemented at the same time as the new POS system upgrade.
Hudson credited, in part, the new POS system and supply chain management system with dropping the company’s food and packaging costs in the last quarter to 20.7 percent, as compared to 21.1 percent during the same quarter in 2012.
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